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Forum > Sewing Machines > Newbie needs help with coverstitch: tension not working well ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Newbie needs help with coverstitch: tension not working well
Is it me or the machine?!! (Photos)
aliengrace
aliengrace
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Member since 7/14/07
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Date: 7/18/07 10:01 AM

Hi, I just got a new (well, ex-demo) coverstitch machine (Brother 2340CV) and I'm having real problems getting the stitch tension tight enough. I've scoured the instruction manual and have run plumb out of ideas as to what I could be doing wrong, can anyone help? I'm on the verge of taking the machine back to the shop, but I would loooove some input first in case I'm missing something. I am going to assume that the machine isn't meant to have such dodgy stitches, if it is I am dumping it very fast.

So I'm finding that the tension seems to be too loose, no matter how high I crank the tensions for the threads. And when I put woolly nylon in (which I can get to work fine with overlocker and sewing machine), it seems to be breaking sometimes (but it's also too loose). Also, sometimes skipped stitches.

Presser foot medium pressure. Results are the same whether sewn fast, slow, smoothly or choppily.

I swear that the threading is to the letter from the manual, I've checked it a million times. (If you know Brother 2340CV, at threading point No. 5 I've been threading the centre and right needle threads under the metal lip plate not on top: I assume that's right. Left thread and right thread temporarily diverge at little metal plate on left side of the arch at threading point No. 6 too. Tension wheels released whilst thread placed between them. Looper on underside of feed dogs is flipped back into place after threading.)

I'm just going to show two examples:

DSC05916   DSC05917

First lot: Fresh size 90 Schmetz Universal needles (that came with the machine). Regular polyester overlocking thread.
Engaging Left (magenta) and Right (green) thread and needles to make your regular 6mm 3-thread coverstitch. Looper thread red. Two layers of medium-weight woven cotton calico. Differential feed at 1.0. Stitch length at 3 (default). I haven't put nets over the cones but the manual only recommends them for woolly nylon so I would expect decent stitches without them.

Top: all tension at #4 (50%) (the default recommended)
Second: all tension at #9 (100%)
Third: all tension at #2 (30%)
Bottom: top threads tensions at #8 (90%), looper tension at #6 (70%)

DSC05920

As you can hopefully see, there isn't much difference in tension in the results. Looper thread looks a little loose for my liking (it's barely okay at 100% tension) but what bothers me most is that the top threads seem pulled through too much to the underside, especially and consistently the Left needle thread (magenta). Not satisfactory quality for me.

Okay, second lot is with woolly nylon, and well, the thread keeps breaking no matter what the tension is! So my sample fabric I can't show but here's one I prepared earlier (had slightly less problems with the 3mm wide coverstitch for some reason). Can't remember the tensions but can remember they didn't make much difference to the results. Tried woolly nylon with and without nets. Just too loose compared to the decent tautness I can get with an overlocker! Used both ballpoints and universals, on two layers of thin cotton interlock. Normal differential feed and stitch length, as above.

DSC05923   DSC05925

Help???? :cry:

Now I'm being superstitious and wishing I'd gotten the Janome instead, love my other Janome machines.

notimetowork

notimetowork
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UNITED KINGDOM
Member since 7/23/05
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Date: 7/18/07 4:00 PM

You are pushing the looper lever back to the left before you close the door and start stitching? Just a thought
Anne

Sew4Fun
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Date: 7/18/07 8:11 PM

Hi,
I have a Brother 2340CV and I think I can help. Let's forget about the wooly nylon for the moment. I'll concentrate on the first samples.

First, you are threading correctly but you MUST use thread nets on the needle threads, regardless of thread type.

Second if you will sewing on knits then you should do your testing on knits, not calico. It does make a difference.

Third, the tensions on the Brother are set for ordinary sewing thread in the needles (Gutermann, etc.) and overlocker weight thread in the looper. As you are using overlocking thread in the needles (thinner thread) you will need to tighten the needle tensions a lot. I can see you are using Q&A serger thread. Blah!!! (Where's the thread snob emotion when I need one. ) This is most likely your problem. Always use good quality thread.

Set you differential feed to the first dot past 1.

Now the tensions. After rethreading with good quality thread, slowly turn all the tension dials back to 0 and gently push the tension release buttons a couple of times. Now slowly turn each dial to set the tension.

You want MORE tension on the needles and LESS tension on the looper. Try the looper on 3 and the needles on 8. With good quality thread you may only need the needles on 6.

If the tensions are still loose after all this then the machine needs a service and the tensions adjusted.

Take in scraps of knit fabric plus samples of the problem and your machine threaded. (If you take it in with Q&A thread expect a lecture. ) Tell the tech you want the needle tensions tightened. It's literally a five minute job and only a matter of turning a dial. I've adjusted my tensions myself before. The factory setting for the needle is set for thicker, good quality thread. There is nothing majorly wrong.

HTH,

------
Belinda. Melbourne, Australia
http://sew-4-fun.blogspot.com/

Sew4Fun
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Date: 7/18/07 9:13 PM

An additional note. If you find GŁtermann thread is too expensive, I've found the spools of thread at Spotlight with the plastic wrapper (Dor-Tak or Birch) work really well in the Brother. It's not what I would call quality thread, but it's thicker so it works nicely. I actually have lots of these spools.

------
Belinda. Melbourne, Australia
http://sew-4-fun.blogspot.com/

aliengrace
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In reply to notimetowork


Date: 7/19/07 2:27 AM

Quote:
...Looper on underside of feed dogs is flipped back into place after threading.)

Thanks but yes! Already stuffed up on that one, machine will not interlock without looper.
aliengrace
aliengrace
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In reply to Sew4Fun


Date: 7/19/07 3:09 AM

Thankyou soooo much for your help and reassurance Belinda, I will try what you suggested as soon as I can! Aaah.. so the coverstitch machine is not like a variety of overlocker, and has its own special requirements! Lucky I don't have much of that Q&A stuff left, but I'll have to be careful in buying bulk thread unseen off eBay (unless it's for the overlocker). I always use Gutermann & similar ilk in the sewing machines.

Will report back with my results soon!

aliengrace
aliengrace
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In reply to Sew4Fun


Date: 7/19/07 9:26 AM

I put in good quality thread! Regular Gutermann polyester, then I put nets over the spools.



Then I adjusted the tensions as you suggested, sewed a row with them (top of each photo, #8 and #3.. well, actually #5) and then went up to #9 on each of the three wheels, on both knit and woven.

DSC05929

The results are *better* than before, but I still don't think they're great, even at maximum tension. I don't like how the top threads pull to the underside, and the looper thread isn't reasonably taut. Is this something that's "normal" for this machine to do, or any domestic coverstitch machine?

I just *can't* seem to get woolly nylon to work, it's breaking and being weird. Is there really expensive stuff the machine thinks I should be using? I'm having troubles with Birch and (yes, but to a lesser extent for some reason) QA.


Also, now that I've got thicker thread in nets, it's almost impossible to get the thread off the fabric without carefully teasing one thread at a time out., this is with tension released, foot released, everything. Else the threads seem to break, and it is reasonably strong thread. Is this something I have to expect in a coverstitch machine??

Thankyou so much for any more insight you can offer! xx

Sew4Fun
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In reply to aliengrace


Date: 7/19/07 9:49 PM

A coverstich is a different machine than a overlocker. The two aren't the same.

Your first test on a knit fabric look pretty good to me. As the needles were set to 9 though I think your machine could do to have the tensions adjusted. Test on several other knit and stretch fabrics first to be sure. Also test the chainstitch. The more samples you can show your tech the better.

With the coverstitch you should be able to see the needle threads on the wrong side a small amount, as a tiny loop. The green sample looks about right, although the black needle thread maybe could be a smidge tighter, but not by much.

The looper thread also should have a little bit of slack. If you sew on a stretch fabric you will understand why. The threads need to be able to stretch with the fabric. This isn't just on domestic machines. If you look at a lot of different RTW you will see their stitches are the same.

As for the wooly nylon, your looper is too tight. When using wooly nylon on any type of machine you need to loosen your tension. Wooly nylon is pulled tight as you sew, then relaxes, therefore you need a looser tension. I set the looper tension to about 2, sometimes 1 with wooly nylon. I don't use wooly nylon in needles as I've never found it necessary. In fact I rarely use wooly nylon at all. Swim and dance wear is about the only time I use it.

As for the quality of the wooly nylon, yes it's poor quality. You can see how it's really fuzzy and doesn't look like thread at all. Good quality wooly nylon isn't like this. I threw out all my Birch wooly nylon about two years ago. I won't go near the stuff now. It catches, pulls and then breaks, whether I use it in my overlocker, sewing machine or coverstitch machine. I've found it nothing but trouble and not worth the headache.

For tips on releasing the fabric, read my blog.

HTH

------
Belinda. Melbourne, Australia
http://sew-4-fun.blogspot.com/

BlackBeauty
BlackBeauty
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Member since 2/28/08
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In reply to Sew4Fun


Date: 5/11/08 4:32 AM

Your coverstich tutorial is very helpful. I have bought a 2340 CV just a week back and I am impressed with the results.But I do have a problem.The second thread keeps breaking very often .I just cant get it right.Any suggestions ?

And congratulations for winning the Fitted Blouse Contest .

REgards,

Sew4Fun
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In reply to BlackBeauty


Date: 5/11/08 4:49 AM

>>congratulations for winning the Fitted Blouse Contest

Thank you!

>>The second thread keeps breaking very often

Sorry, no. It can be difficult to diagnose without more information or seeing your machine in person. Have you tried using different spools of thread? Sometimes you can get a bad batch of thread or poor quality thread will break.

If you have, it's probably either a tension problem or maybe the thread is getting caught on something.

------
Belinda. Melbourne, Australia
http://sew-4-fun.blogspot.com/

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